I can’t believe I haven’t tackled this topic before. Well, ok, I can. It’s an IEP subject area that is incredibly complex. It also is one that affects our kids day-to-day the most, and in my opinion, is usually handled the worst. I see horrible FBAs completed by well-intended staff who have no business doing one, and the results show it.
But, goals can be a starting point. If you’re having trouble defining what it is that your child is struggling with, sometimes reading over goals describing desirable behavior can help get you there.
Please note: There’s a lot of overlap when it comes to various areas of need that a child has. If you are looking for Social Emotional goals, I have a list of those too. If you don’t find what you need here, you made find it there.
This post has a lot of lists. So grab a cup of something and poke around a while. Behavior is a complex topic, and you cannot talk about behavior goals without also talking about FBAs, discipline, manifestation hearings and so on. As I say, “knowledge base I wish I didn’t have to have” but I do.
But let’s not put the cart before the horse.
You have to start with an FBA. A friend and Behavior Specialist wrote this excellent post about behavior and FBAs. That should definitely be your starting point if your child has not had an FBA.
Can you have Behavior Goals without an FBA?
Short answer is yes. However, doing an FBA first is best practice. And, how do you know that you need behavior goals if you have not done any evaluations regarding behavior? You would need the FBA to drive the Behavior Plan within the IEP.
That being said, if my child’s behaviors were minimal, and adequately addressed in the IEP without an FBA, I’m not sure that would be a battle I would fight. Every situation is different.
Main thing to remember: All behavior tells you something. What is your child trying to say?
Can you have a Behavior Plan without an IEP?
Again, short answer is yes. I have seen it done (though I did not question the validity of doing it this way as it was not my client). For some kids, their only area of need might be behavior. Therefore it kinda sorta makes sense that they only need a behavior plan and not a full blown IEP.
However, I think this is a horrible practice. If a child has behaviors significant enough to warrant a behavior plan, then they should have an IEP. And therefore the procedural protections it offers as far as discipline and manifestation hearings. You can read more about that below too. Again, this is a complex topic with lots of tangents.
Teach the skill or accommodate the deficit.
In behavior, there’s a whole lot of talk about “making good choices.” Just make sure that the child has the skill set before the expectation is set. It’s very easy to lay out expectations of what you wish for a child to do. Classroom behavior goals are never going to happen if the foundation isn’t there.
If a child lacks a skill, it is never going to happen. This goes back to your FBA. Make sure that as behaviors are listed, that they are defined as either “will of the child” or “lack of skill set.”
There is a huge difference, but both can result in being expelled from school.
Behavior Goals for an IEP
I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of great sites to pull from. I have included some goals that I wasn’t that crazy about. Many of them were on a list with other decent goals.
Some had wording like “will act mad the right way.” You know what’s wrong with that one, right? Who says what is the right way to be mad? Does the child even know this? And how to do it? So while I think that the bulk of these are good, there are starting points.
Lists of Behavior Goals
This is just part of a giant list. I like that some of these behavior goals include work completion goals.
- By the expiration date of this IEP, _______ will manage conflicts, independent of teacher support in 4 of 5 observed occurrences over a 2 month period as measured by observations and performance assessments.
- By the expiration date of this IEP, given a self-monitoring checklist and positive reinforcement system, _______ will demonstrate self-regulation during 90% of weekly sessions as measured by observations across 2 months.
- Given visual support, _______ will complete his work with a calm body (i.e., sitting at his desk, safe hands) for 25 minutes during a session with 80% accuracy over a 2 month period as measured by observation in the school environment by the expiration of this IEP.
- By the expiration of this IEP, _______ will use contextual language (contextual language includes any language appropriate for the context and excludes scripting, moaning, grunting, and other vocalizations emitted out of context) with appropriate volume while in an environment outside of the classroom during 80% of a minimum of 200 recorded 5-minute intervals over a 2 month period, as measured by observation and performance assessments.
- By the expiration of this IEP, given a writing assignment, _______ will initiate his work as evidenced by beginning to write letters on his paper within 1 minute of the assignment being presented in 80% of a minimum of 20 recorded opportunities over a period of 2 months, as measured by observation and performance assessments.
- Throughout the school environment while using a five-piece token board with a visual of his rules (follow directions and have a safe body) listed at the top, _______ will follow both of his rules (follow directions and have a safe body) to earn all five of his tokens for each half-hour period, in group and 1:1 academic sessions, in 80% of trials probed in 4/5 observations for at least a 2 month period before the expiration of this IEP, as measured by observations and performance assessments.
- _______ will request (verbally or with cue card) and take a break when he needs one, and return back to a task after a break independently in 8 out 10 opportunities over a minimum of two months, as measured by observations and performance assessment by the expiration date of this IEP.
- Read dozens more over at Weebly.
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